Pet-Friendly House Plants—And Those to Avoid

June 1, 2019

Cats and dogs have a tremendous sense of smell—tens of thousands of times stronger than humans. So, they’re naturally drawn to plants. They might just sniff, but it’s not uncommon for a pet to nibble on a plant. Before you bring home something that could be toxic to your furry family, Cothran Homes has a guide to pet-friendly house plants—and those to avoid.Pet-safe house plants, from A to ZAfrican violet. If you want a flowering plant that’s relatively easy to maintain, here’s the perfect pet-safe house plant. African violets love sunshine and warmth so they will do well in your window.Aluminum plant. The variegated leaves make this plant visually appealing. It doesn’t require much care and is safe for dogs and cats. Bamboo palm. Great for positive energy, the bamboo palm is a natural humidifier. This sturdy house plant also helps to purify your indoor air.Boston fern. While some ferns ARE toxic to plants (like the asparagus fern), the Boston fern is both pet-friendly and another house plant that removes pollutants from the air in your home.Money plant. It’s non-toxic and the full, variegated leaves fill in a space nicely. Spider plant. It doesn’t get much easier to have a thriving plant than this one. As it grows, the limbs sprout more plants, which can be cut and rooted to generate more spider plants. Another benefit of the spider plant is that it actually improves indoor air quality by removing formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene that can be emitted from furniture, paint, household cleaners, air fresheners, and other things in your home.Zebra plant. Aptly named, the Zebra plant’s striped leaves grow large and shiny, and sprout small, vibrant flowers. They like warm climates and humidity, perfect for South Carolina weather!Toxic plants for petsAloe. This is a medicinal plant for humans, but the saponin in the aloe plant’s pulp and juice can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy in your dog.Amaryllis. Like most lilies, the amaryllis has no place in a pet-friendly home. Chowing down on the bulb can make your pet sick, including a drop in blood pressure.Bird of Paradise. The colors of the blossoms are beautiful but the plant is highly toxic to pets that ingest it. Hydrogen cyanide can be deadly to them!Dieffenbachia. Also known as “dumb cane”, keep that name in mind to ward you away from it. Even a little nibble can cause burning and irritation in your pet’s lips and mouth.Eucalyptus. These fragrant plants might be hard for your dog to ignore, which is why you need to prohibit it from your home. The strong scent to the oil in the leaves can lead to mood change, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea.Gardenia. The beautiful scent is undeniably delightful, but the blossoms and leaves can make your pet sick when they snack on it. Lilies. Asiatic, Peace, Calla, Tiger, Easter, Day, or any type of lily should be kept away from curious pets. They are more dangerous to cats than dogs, but nevertheless can cause renal and liver failure if left untreated.Oleander. Don’t let the pretty flowers lure you in. This is one of the most poisonous plants! Side effects include dehydration, fever, slowing of your heartbeat, tremors, and death—for both humans and pets.Sago palm. Indoors or out, keep this plant away from your pets. It contains cycasin, which can cause liver damage.Protect your pets from their own curious nature. Avoid any house plants that pose a danger to your cats and dogs, and follow these tips: 

  • Label all plants with their type and any possible side effects. 
  • Clean up any debris from the plants so your pets can’t get to them.
  • Keep vines under control and out of reach.
  • Check the plant pots regularly for signs of mold or bugs.
  • Provide your pets with plenty of fresh water so they’re not tempted to drink from plant pots.

Are you and your pet ready for a change of place? Greenville is a very dog-friendly area and Cothran Homes has move-in ready townhomes and single-family homes—all brand new construction and fully covered by our builder warranty. Contact us to discover the ideal environment for you and your furry friends.  

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